Have you ever thought about the seasons of life? Kids love to collect things like marbles, rocks, stamps or favorite movie memorabilia. As you grow older, you might find that you are collecting baseball hats, vintage glassware or sets of dishes. Eventually, though, you may outgrow your collections or decide that you are tired of spending hours of your life dusting the knick-knacks or want to have room in your garage to actually pull your vehicle in out of the weather. Many of us are at a point in our life where we want to simplify our life! We want to be able to travel, see the world and make memories without the clutter of stuff holding us back.
If you have moved past the collecting season of life and are ready to simplify but not quite sure where to start because there is so much stuff in your life, here are some easy steps to help you simplify your life!
10 Ways to Simplify Your Life
Clean out your closet:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but most of us have stuff hanging in our closet or stuffed in boxes on the top shelves that we haven’t worn or used in years. If it hasn’t been worn in the past two years, what are you saving it for? Many people are saving old prom dresses, overcoats, uniforms, sweaters, scarves, and shoes that just don’t fit, aren’t in style or don’t fit your current lifestyle.
Periodically we will go through our closets and sort out things that just don’t work for us anymore. We either take them to the local thrift store, give them to a friend or family member if it’s something they need or just throw them away. Because, let’s face it, not everything deserves a 2nd life. Some things need to be tossed so they don’t end up cluttering someone else’s life.
Donate unused drink mugs:
We all have drink mugs, sports bottles or souvenir cups in our closets that we have accumulated over the years. But do we really need them taking up that cabinet space? Donate them to the local thrift store and free up some great space.
Skip Sales Ads:
This reminds me of the classic Laura Numeroff books. If you don’t see the amazing sales happening in the sales ads, you might not be tempted to head to the stores. If you don’t walk into the stores, you might not buy more stuff. If you don’t buy more stuff, you won’t end up with extra stuff in your life.
Clean up what you have:
The other day I took a good look at my salt and pepper shakers. They are little glass shakers, have been used daily for quite a few years and just really don’t look that nice anymore. I debated whether I should just chunk them and buy a new set since they’re not very expensive, but instead, I took a few minutes and cleaned the ones I have. Now they look brand new and only took 20 minutes.
Tip: Invest in a box of steel wool pads so you can clean up your stove or pots and pans so you can get new life out of the things you already have!
Throw out old crayons:
When crayons and school supplies go on sale each year, I always stock up on supplies. The problem is that when I add the new crayons and pencils, I forget to throw out the old stuff. This past week, I took a few minutes while I was watching TV and sorted out the old crayons, pencils, and markers. I put the used ones in a plastic bag and donated them. That means I have an extra plastic box that I can use to store other things that really matter to me.
Slim down your bookshelf
We all have books that we love and will read multiple times. But do we really want to keep the hundreds of kids books that have not been read in 10 years? Go through your bookshelf and keep your favorites that are classics and then donate, sell to a used bookstore or give the rest to a friend.
Clear out the Linen Closet
When is the last time you pulled out all your sheets and blankets? The most recent time I cleaned out the linen closet I found sheets that were missing the matches, some with bleach spots or holes and even character sheets that the kids have outgrown. So why was I keeping them? Now is great time to donate them to a pet shelter. Just call and see where to take the extras that can be used to keep these animals warm all winter.
Donate or use Soaps & Shampoo
Do you keep the small travel soaps and shampoo bottles when you travel? If you do, then you probably have quite the stash in your bathroom. These are perfect to use on your next vacation or teen camp adventure. But you should periodically go through them and make sure you can use them soon or else donate them so you don’t have the clutter in your drawers.
Get rid of old hangers
Most people have tons of plastic hangers that come when you buy new clothes. Since these aren’t really practical in the closet, they seem to just get tossed around and become extra clutter. Take them to your thrift store or donate them to a kid’s consignment sale so they can be used and get them out of your house.
Adopt the Plus/Minus Rule
If you add something to your life, you must subtract something out of it. When you buy a new piece of clothing, get rid of one old piece that no longer fits. When you get a new DVD, look to see if you can sell or donate an old one you no longer want. One of my goals is to not buy new totes to store my stuff. I look through the containers I currently have and see if there are things I can get rid of rather than add more storage boxes to my closets.
I know there are other people on this same journey with me. We’re on a mission to simplify and streamline our living. What are your favorite tips and tricks for clearing out the clutter? I’d love to hear!